The mystery and romance of rail travel will be brought to life in Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay this December, with the Asia debut of the Once Upon a Time on The Orient Express pop-up attraction. Following the 2014 exhibition in Paris, which marked the 130th anniversary of the storied locomotive, this showcase will be its first outside of France.
With a rich history that dates back to 1883, The Orient Express was first envisioned as a long-distance passenger train service but gradually became a well-loved symbol of luxury travel and old-world glamour. Those who’ve devoured author Agatha Christie’s famous Murder On the Orient Express novel, will be delighted to know that the attraction will highlight and address the story’s mythical aspects.
Visitors can explore the golden age of train travel via a reconstructed train platform and showrooms that display giant trucks filled with fascinating artefacts and documents from a bygone era. Expect to come upclose and personal with aged suitcases, crockery, menus, posters, stained glass windows, furniture, and even an 80-tonne Pullman car. Among these are also 300 pieces of loaned artworks that hail from France and Europe,
To deepen one’s understanding of the locomotive’s history, there’ll be documentaries, newsreels and film chips on site, featuring the scenic stopovers on its route, from London to Luxor.
Transporting the exhibition to the Lion City was no mean feat, involving 45 days of travel during the ongoing pandemic. Curator Claude Mollard said: . It involved shipping historic monuments – a locomotive built in France 158 years ago and a 1930s sleeper car, weighing close to 200 tonnes, it is undoubtedly one of the heaviest to be shipped across the world.”
“All these elements needed to be housed in a custom-built infrastructure with the right conditions to store, preserve and protect the artworks and displays. This is especially due to the hot and humid climate in Singapore.”
Tickets are priced at S$25 on official ticketing partner Sistic.